A children’s theater director in Kansas City was found dead at home on Christmas Eve, days after he resigned from his position following a cascade of allegations of child sexual abuse.
Jeff Church, 63, who had led the Coterie Theatre for over 30 years, was found dead on Saturday afternoon, the Kansas City Star reported. The cause of death has not been announced.
On Thursday, KKFI 90.1 radio host Mark Manning accused Church on Facebook of assaulting him in 1991 when he was 27.
He came forward by sharing a since-deleted video by Deshawn Young, a Florida-based actor who previously lived in Kansas City, in which he described an assault. New York Post report:
“I am sharing this video testimonial from my friend Dashawn Young. Please be careful. This is very difficult to watch and hear,” Manning wrote.
“My emotional muscle memory was triggered in a way I did not fully expect. I lost it. I became so emotional that I wondered if I could even do my radio show,” he continued.
Manning went on to recount how Church allegedly assaulted him at the director’s home during a party after the production of “Dinosaurs.”
“I found myself pushed back on the bed, his mouth was on my body parts, my clothing seemed to disappear, and very quickly the director had penetrated me,” he wrote.
“It felt like my body was being used. How did this happen?” Manning said, adding that he had heard of many similar accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of the theater honcho.
Manning told the Star that the sickening acts had been “going on for over 30 years.”